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Philosophia Christi

Volume 18, Issue 1, 2016

Ethics: Just War as Deterrence Against Terrorism?

Keith Pavlischek
Pages 137-145

Can a Pacifist Tell a Just Counterterrorism Strategy?
Or, Why, if You Are a Pacifist Singing, “I Ain’t Gonna Study War No More,” You Shouldn’t Give Advice to Those Who Do

In this essay I distinguish between classic Christian pacifists who embrace the dual­ism of the Schleitheim Confession, who believe that it is unjust, immoral, and in opposition to the teachings of Jesus for Christians to fight in wars or, more generally ever to threaten or employ lethal force, and modern Christian pacifists who believe this proscription also extends to secular government officials and legislators. For distinct reasons, neither have much to say to Christian just warriors or public officials seeking ways to combat the scourge of terrorism. I conclude by suggesting that attempts to find a “third way” between just war and either form of pacifism are theologically perilous.

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